Mashell Carissimi, CEO and founder of JMC Electrical Contractor LLC previews a portion of her dance  March 29 for “Stepping Out with the Stars” with Jim Everley at the Arthur Murray Dance Studio. The  April 26 event at the Wyndham Garden in Sterling Heights is a major fundraiser for Turning Point of Macomb.

Mashell Carissimi, CEO and founder of JMC Electrical Contractor LLC previews a portion of her dance March 29 for “Stepping Out with the Stars” with Jim Everley at the Arthur Murray Dance Studio. The April 26 event at the Wyndham Garden in Sterling Heights is a major fundraiser for Turning Point of Macomb.

Photo by Patricia O’Blenes


It’s time to ‘step out’ for Turning Point

By: Julie Snyder | Mount Clemens - Clinton - Harrison Journal | Published April 5, 2019

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STERLING HEIGHTS/MOUNT CLEMENS — Get your dancing shoes out and get ready to cut a rug for Turning Point of Macomb’s biggest and most celebrated fundraiser of the year.

Tickets are now on sale for the fourth annual “Stepping Out with the Stars,” an event that has grown in popularity since its inception so much that this year a new, bigger venue has been lined up.

“This is a major event for us,” said Karan Bates-Gasior, Turning Point’s director of development. “With the efforts of an outstanding committee, we raised over $70,000 last year, and since the event continues to garner more attendees every year, we’ve had to seek a larger venue to accommodate the bigger crowds.”

This year’s “Stepping Out with the Stars” will be held from 6 to 11 p.m. Friday, April 26, at the Wyndham Garden Sterling Heights, 34911 Van Dyke Ave. Doors open at 5:30 p.m.

The evening will be emceed by radio and television news personality — and former “Stepping Out with the Stars” dancer — Kim Adams  and will include dinner, dancing, DJ entertainment, an open bar, surprise performances and voting for your favorite star.

Holly Fujishige, who is the co-chair of planning the event with Sharon O’Brien, said there are seven dancers featured in this year’s fundraiser. Each will perform with a professional dancer from the Arthur Murray Dance Studio out of Sterling Heights, owned by Jim Everley.

“All of the dancers are people from the community, from local business owners to professionals, who either we approached or who approached us to participate,” said Fujishige. “the Arthur Murray Dance Studio donated the lessons, 20 lessons, and the choreography.”

A panel of judges will be composed of dancers from the 2018 “Stepping Out with the Stars.”

Dancers include a St. Clair County commissioner, an employee with DTE Energy based in Detroit, two doctors — one from Wayne County and one from Macomb County — and a fashion designer from Macomb County.  

Everly said many of this year’s featured dancers have been practicing since late November and early December.

Dancing styles and costumes match the chosen music, Everly said, which will add to the entertainment factor of the competition — all in the name of physical and sexual assault awareness and advocacy.

The dance studio has hosted and organized this part of “Stepping Out With the Stars” since its inception. Everly and four of his instructors will be dancing the samba, salsa, West Coast Swing, tango, fox trot, and other styles, with their dance partners.

“There will be a good variety,” he said. “It will be a lot of fun.”

But there’s more, organizers said.

“We’ll also be launching the 100 Men Challenge,” Fujishige said. The 100 Men Challenge is when men are asked to stand up to domestic violence and sexual assault, encouraging other men to join them while raising money for Turning Point.

Fujishige said the fundraising goal for this year’s “Stepping Out with the Stars” is $100,000. She said the 800-person-capacity venue may help them do just that.

The event is traditionally held in April to recognize Sexual Assault Awareness Month.

Turning Point, based in Mount Clemens, provides emergency, support and prevention services for domestic and sexual violence survivors. Services consist of an emergency shelter, individual and group counseling, advocacy, a personal protection order assistance  program, a forensic nurse examiners program for victims of sexual assault, and a prevention education program.

The organization’s mission is to financially assist domestic abuse survivors who are transitioning into a safe home of their own, as many lack funds or access to funds for security deposits for a home, to turn on utilities, or to get the household items needed to set up a home.

Each year, Turning Point responds to an average of 12,000 crisis calls, provides support services to an estimated 3,000 individuals, and offers prevention education to 6,000 youth.

Tickets to “Stepping Out with the Stars” must be purchased in advance and cost $100 per person, or a table of 10 costs $900. Tickets can be purchased at turn ingpointmacomb.org or by mailing a check to P.O. Box 26602, Fraser, MI 48026.

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